Letting Your Lil Light Shine | day 30: know your time of life

We were in the mountains of California enjoying a get-away at my parents' cabin. Leading up to the trip I had all these visions of rejuvenation and productivity during this time nestled in nature. I would enjoy some "me-time" while the kids did their morning activities (my parents manage a lodge that runs family camps), then I'd do some writing during afternoon nap. Sounds perfect, doesn't it?

Ian must not have gotten the memo. About 15 minutes into nap time, he woke up screaming and wouldn't settle down. I gave him his sippy cup and he threw it on the ground. I cuddled him and he pushed me away. I let him on the ground to play and he came clawing back into my lap. Finally, I sunk into the cool leather couch holding a cranky boy and thinking through the contrasts between my ideal and this muddled reality.

It was everything I could do to be calming and soothing in response to his plain and simple meanness.

It's moments like these that discourage me in my efforts to shine. We (I) have a narrow idea of Christian service, believing it's reserved for the missionaries overseas or the people giving money or the teachers helping kids or the people free to do random acts of kindness.

Sure, there's the occasional reminder that a mom's Christian impact when her kids are young is with her kids. But I forget this. Or my kid gets cranky when I'm supposed to be having a serene writing moment, and my heart cries, Is this really my purpose? Is this all I'm good for--a punching bag when my kid is upset?

The answer is that we all have different callings, and our callings vary depending on the time of life we're in. A mom, a college student, a full-time employee, and a retiree all have different sets of advantages and limitations in life and in their Christian service. They all have different missions and different challenges in their efforts.

What time of life are you in? Are you acknowledging this and asking God to direct you how to serve Him best given your current advantages and limitations?

I asked my friend, Alana, to share how she lets her light shine--especially in regards to her current challenges as a stay-at-home mother of an almost-five-year-old and almost-one-year-old twins. Alana shares her realization of God's current calling to be a good mom, and the resources she uses to fill that calling.

Here is Alana's response...

>> Life is crazy right now in the Paradise home. I never imagined I could be so busy every day. Michael and I used to come home from summer camp, a busy event weekend or a 10-day Mission Trip overseas and I would think, Wow, I need a whole week to rest and relax from how busy we've been. I never would've imagined that same feeling everyday, was in my future, and some days it would never even come close to how busy we are now.

The first few months after the twins were born were the very hardest. But I am always able to see how things could be harder and that I should count my blessings. For instance, witnessing a single mom of 2 sets of twins, not too far apart in age from each other, in line at Walmart.

In all the busy, sometimes it's easy to get discouraged that I'm not doing anything for myself or something that has a lot of purpose. And then I realize the whole purpose of a mom in some ways is a reminder of real selflessness. A lesson that's hard to learn but I've gotten a good dose of every time I add a child to the mix. Just like all moms do.

Most of us, if we're honest, had a thought of pure terror when we realized what life would really be like now with a child. That first week home with the kid by yourself is an eye opener, to say the least. So adding two at the same time was an extra hard lesson, but one I know I am blessed with. Thankfully we are done adding children to the mix, but I am sure they will continue to teach me this priceless lesson.

As my 3 kiddos are growing everyday, I realize the great privilege it is to raise these 3 individuals. Scary that Michael and I are in charge of that, but a privilege to try our best to guide them to be servants of God.

I believe doing my best is also realizing what helps me to be at my best. So I have made those things a top priority. Exercise, sleep, real conversations with my husband instead of trying to talk over crying babies (lol), prayer, and something I enjoy doing a couple hours a week. A happy mom is a happy home.

A fellow twin mommy urged that thought to me when I was pregnant with the twins. She encouraged me to do my best, but to make sure I wasn't letting others pressure me to do more than I could possibly do. Sometimes you need a fellow mommy to cheer you on and encourage you to believe in yourself as a good mommy. The support and encouragement from other moms has been a HUGE help in this whole adventure of mommy-hood.

Having a loving supportive husband is the glue that holds this all together for me. I feel like I am tough enough to do a million things in one day and take care of my kids' every need and want, but I need someone to take care of me sometimes too, and I'm thankful that Michael has been so willing and supportive.

I feel like God is allowing me to shine by giving me all of these resources (family and friends) to help me be the best mommy I can be. My biggest purpose right now is to love and care for my family and to teach them about God's love through that.

I hope to keep letting God shine through me. Whether it be listening to every song that my 4 year old sings at the top of his lungs while banging his guitar or sitting in the middle seat with a twin on each side feeding them in the car while I am getting more and more car sick. Either way, I know that God has called me to do my very best and I hope to do that with His help. <<